- Software – Amazon, Zoom, Netflix and others supply the needs of the socially distanced world. Our work and social lives have become almost completely dependent on them in the space of a few months, causing their customer base and revenues to soar. Brands in this industry donate overwhelmingly to Democrats, likely reflecting their younger average employee age and common residence in blue states.
- Supermarkets – Now that the panic buying has receded (a bit), grocery stores are still benefiting directly from the dormancy of the restaurant industry. Their growth will be constrained by how well they adapt to contactless buying like curbside pick up and deliveries. Supermarket brands donate across the aisle, for example Amazon’s Whole Foods on the left is balanced by Publix and Kroger on the right. As a quick glance at our Grocery Store category shows, 41 companies give mostly to the left, 43 mostly to the right, 1 gives to both evenly, and 8 do not give to anyone.
- Health Insurance – Cigna, Anthem, and Humana have all seen jumps in their stock price since the beginning of the outbreak. While these 3 companies in particular have pledged to waive patient cost-sharing for COVID related needs, rather than struggling with the increase in claims, their profit margins are widely expected to increase (NPR). These projections come from the expected cancellation of all non-emergency procedures and premium increases in 2021. The industry’s donations trend strongly toward Republicans, finding their way right twice as often as left.
- Sanitation – Brands like Purell, Clorox, and Lysol, as well as other producers of disinfectant and PPE will continue riding the massive surge in demand set off by the pandemic. Demand for hand sanitizer in particular jumped 1,400% between December and January, just to meet the needs of the annual flu season (Vox). Then COVID happened. The major brands in this industry, on average, donate overwhelmingly to Democrats.
- Gambling – Most of this industry has had to close down. Even the non-casino subtypes like betting have been hit by the postponement or cancellation of sports seasons and events like March Madness. The industry’s donations trend strongly Republican. In particular, the biggest individual donor of the 2018 election was Sheldon Adelson of the Las Vegas Sands corporation. All $123 million of his donations went to Republicans (Open Secrets).
- Hardware – China is the world capital of hardware production and its battle with the outbreak has had understandable effects on device-centric businesses. Apple alone has been projected to lose as much as $67 billion due to a shortage of iPhones (USAToday). Tech as an industry trends strongly Democratic. And that political bent holds for the hardware-centric companies.
- Oil & Gas – This industry took the most immediate hit from social distancing and the reduction in all types of travel. Its troubles were exacerbated when COVID pushed Saudi Arabia and Russia, two of the world’s largest oil & gas producers, into a price war. So far this election cycle, oil has donated to Republicans nine times more than to Democrats, reflecting a historic trend for the industry.
- Transportation – The Transportation sector was the most obvious casualty of the pandemic. As a complementary industry, it faces most of the problems Oil & Gas does. Social distancing particularly has set demand back and profits with it. The industry’s political lean has solidified ever since climate change entered the fray as a political issue, setting oil and its complementary industries on one side of the aisle and environmentalists on the other. In keeping with that, Transportation has donated to Republicans four times more often than to Democrats this cycle.